How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Miata Soft Top? [Labor & Parts]
Soft tops on any make or model of car are notorious for having a short shelf life. There are many reasons why soft tops can fail, from being folded for too long, to being damaged by extreme weather, to issues related to age. In all of these cases, the soft top will start to cause leaks and other issues in the interior of your Miata that can lead to damage that you do not want to have to repair.
The average cost for a Miata soft top replacement is $800-$1,000. The labor portion of this job can add an additional $500 beyond this if there is extensive damage to the frame and the other parts that support the soft top. There might also be interior damage that you will need to attend to if the problem has been going on for some time.
If you are ready to learn more about the cost to replace a Miata soft top, read on!
How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Miata Soft Top?
There are some differences in the cost of the replacement due to issues that could arise with wiring and the materials that are included in the top that you need to replace. You will need to decide if you want to cut back from a glass window to plastic, or you might decide to just leave your top closed for good once it is replaced so that you can avoid paying for electrical repairs.
Location can cause a major variance in the overall cost of your repairs and you will find that some people are willing to drive to another state to make the overall cost more manageable. For areas that are not really convertible driving locations, i.e. spots that get a lot of snow or rain each year, it will often be much harder to get a good price on the repair job that is needed for your Miata soft top replacement.
Many repair shops that are not located in places that get enough sun for convertible owners will not be equipped to do this kind of replacement process either.
Why Does Replacing A Convertible Top Cost So Much?
The trouble with a convertible top replacement is that you are not just going to have to replace the top itself, you will also usually have to replace the motor.
You might also have to replace the wiring that connects the canopy to the button that controls the top going up and down.
Chasing down issues with wiring in any part of a car’s system can be very expensive and lead to lots of added labor costs during the diagnosis process.
You will find that this is often not a replacement process that you can take care of yourself, as you will need too many different mechanical skills to complete the full process yourself.
Some Miata owners report that they are able to simply buy the entire assembly for the top off of a totaled car and replace the top that way, but this is not always possible.
This can be a more affordable option and in many areas, this will cost you around $300-$400.
You may not be able to use this solution due to the amount of damage to the supports that hold the top on the car, but if you have not had extensive water damage beneath the top, you might be able to spend this much money on your repairs.
What If I Want To Replace My Miata Top Myself?
If you think that you can take care of the replacement process yourself, you will save a lot of money on labor. The cost for most areas of the country to get a new soft top assembly is about $400-$600.
There are some options that are involved in selecting the right kind of top for your needs and you can choose to buy a cheaper top if you want to save some money.
Always remember that you will have about $150-$200 in shipping with some sellers to get the new top sent to you, which can start to encroach on the savings that you will enjoy from taking care of the repair process yourself.
This might negate the benefits of saving money on having a mechanic or a dealership do the work for you in some cases.
Overall, this is not a very technical job, but it is time-intensive and you will need to be able to store your Miata indoors during the installation, particularly if you are not going to be able to finish it in a day.
You should always consider logistics before you embark on this repair process.
Common Signs That Your Soft Top Is Failing
You might think that you will notice that your soft top is failing well in advance of the problem becoming dire, but there are some early warning signs that many people miss. This is particularly true if you have your soft top closed more often than it is open.
The Switch is Slow to Respond
One of the most common early warning signs of damage to your soft top is a non-responsive or sluggish response from the button that tells the top to go up and down. This can indicate that moisture has been getting inside the motor and damaging the wiring.
If you see that there is rust on any of the metal parts that are related to the mechanism and the top itself, this can indicate that there is water leaking around the canopy or through the hinges on the top.
If the top will not open fully or close fully, some portion of the mechanical parts might have failed or you might have an issue with the wiring that has led to the motor failing to operate as it should.
Water Inside the Interior
You might not see water actively running down into the car, but might instead find it pooled in odd locations like your glove compartment or the back floor mats.
This is because the water that is seeping into the vehicle from the leaks might be subtle and the moisture is collecting as condensation inside the car at these collection points. Leaks can also run down the frame into locations that you do not expect.
Moisture on the Windshield
If you have condensation on your windshield that is not normal, this might be related to a leaky top. This can be an early warning sign that your Miata top is failing and you should start looking into possible issues with the top before they become worse.
What Years Of Miata Can I Buy Soft Tops For New?
Some Miata’s are too old to get a new soft top for. You might have to go to a junkyard to get a soft top for older models. It is still possible to get new soft tops for Miata’s that are 2006 model years and newer. You will find that buying new is sometimes the easiest way to go despite the added cost.
There are too many ways in which a user or junkyard soft top might be damaged and you should consider this a major risk that could end up costing you far more in the long run than buying a new top.
Buying new can eliminate the chances that your interior and electrical system will be further damaged by this new soft top that has its own set of issues.
Always consider the possible downsides of saving a couple of hundred dollars on a used top when you are deciding between new and used for your repair.
There are many other parts that can be damaged if your soft top is not working right and you should make sure that you weigh the potential risks to your car’s overall health against your savings.
Miata Soft Top Repairs Can Add Up
There are many reasons why some people avoid getting a soft-top vehicle of any kind. The cost of replacing the soft top on your Miata can be prohibitive for some car owners and might be a reason to avoid buying a soft-top car.
If you own a soft-top Miata and are trying to decide how much you should spend on replacing your damaged soft top (due to sun damage), remember to shop around for the best possible deal.
Being willing to drive your Miata to another state might help make the replacement cost more bearable and you will often find that places that have sunny weather year-round are much better equipped to provide you with the parts and mechanics with the expertise to help you with your soft top replacement needs.
Soft top replacements are a normal part of owning this kind of car and you should always consider budgeting for this requirement well in advance of the time that you actually need to replace your soft top.